Sunday, December 16, 2007

Comparisons

I'm happy to take the credit for my foresight in comparing Gordon Brown with (and indeed to) John Major. But here's a new one via the Mail on Sunday.

One rebellious Labour MP even compared Mr Brown to Anthony Eden, the Conservative Prime Minister of the Fifties who resigned after less than two years in the job without fighting a single General Election.

This is somewhat unfair to Eden by dint of being untrue. Eden fought an election within weeks of succeeding Churchill (you can find the full results here if you are so minded. Not even I am sad enough to go through them all; but it's vaguely interesting to flick through them and note such historic details as the fact that many seats only had Labour and Tory candidates or that Belfast West was an Ulster Unionist gain).

One thing Eden did not do was spend weeks talking up the prospect of an election, publicly and visibly dither about it and then make some laughable claims about why he had called it off. If Eden really had been Brown-like, I suppose he would have tried to pretend he hadn't invaded Suez by sending in the troops after the French and Israelis had already done so, then tried to give the impression they were just passing through rather than invading the place properly and finished off by making a laughably unconvincing case that there was some pressing reason which prevented them from invading Suez at the same time as everyone else.

However, if we making comparions, it is worth remembering the following story about Churchill – who hung on for years to keep his heir-apparent out of Downing Street. Here's an account of his valedictory dinner which, it being in the Telegraph, is mainly intended to highlight Blair's disgraceful disrepect towards Her Maj. It does show some foresight, however.

When the Queen and guests had departed Number 10, the diarist Colville went upstairs with Winston. "He sat on his bed, still wearing his garter, order of merit and knee breeches. For several minutes he did not speak. Then suddenly he stared at me with vehemence: 'I don't believe Anthony can do it.' His prophecies have often tended to be borne out by events."

I think Gordon Brown will be Prime Minister for a shade under three years against Eden's a shade under two, however.

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